The Secret To Beautiful Eyes: Expert Solutions For Hooded Eyes
Our eyes - the windows of the soul and perhaps our most arresting feature. But as we age, they are also the source of many concerns. From dry eyes to watery eyes, from hooded eyelids to dark circles and under-eye puffiness, problems can be bothersome and uncomfortable, affecting how we wear makeup and think about ourselves.
In the article which follows, Lynne Sanders, Cosmetic Scientist and Founder of Cosmetics à la Carte, and Dr Elizabeth Hawkes, Chelsea-based Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon, combine their beauty and medical expertise to create a comprehensive guide to tackling one of the most persistent and common eye-related problems: hooded eyes.
Find out more about Dr Elizabeth Hawkes’ expertise in eye health and advanced facial aesthetics, and her extensive range of services, on her website here.
What are hooded eyes?
“Hooded eyes” is a term to describe a type of eyelid where the crease is not fully visible when you look straight ahead. People are often concerned about hooded eyes because of their association with looking older, and because it presents specific challenges for wearing and enjoying eye makeup. Lynne Sanders explains: “If you have hooded eyes, eyeshadow tends to crease, while eyeliner and mascara can be hard to apply, and smudge more easily.”
What causes hooded eyes?
Dr Elizabeth Hawkes explains that hooded eyes occur when we have excess skin from the brow to the lash line: “This can be a genetic feature, but can also be a function of age, because our eyelid skin loses its elasticity which leads to redundant folds of skin over time. The muscles around the eye (orbicularis oculi) and the orbital septum also weaken, allowing fat to prolapse above and below your eyelids.”
What's the best makeup for hooded eyes?
According to Lynne, the most flattering makeup for hooded eyes involves 4 simple yet transformative steps, designed to create definition by contrasting areas of shadow and highlight, as well as lengthening the eyelashes.
Mineral powder eyeshadows like Cosmetics à la Carte Eye Define are better than creams for those with hooded eyes. This is due to the fluidity of the product. Lynne describes how, in case of hooded eyes, “our natural skin’s warmth starts to melt cream eyeshadow, causing creasing.”
To enhance hooded eyes, first take a mid-toned neutral mineral eyeshadow in a matte finish. Use this to create a so-called “false crease” by applying it to your orbital bone, above where your crease really is. It will now be visible even when your eyes are open.
Second, take a light-toned mineral eyeshadow in a sheen or shimmer finish. With this you want to illuminate the main part of the eyelid. Although this is only visible when you blink, it will create the illusion that it is bigger and brighter.
Use the same highlighter shade to illuminate the inner corner of the eye next to the nose, to vanish shadows there, and finally apply a layer of beautiful sheen underneath the eyebrow, above your “false crease” created in step 1. For all this, Lynne recommends a Shadow Brush.
Although there are a lot of column inches written about how shimmer can be unflattering for older makeup wearers, Lynne argues: “while glitter is perhaps only for the young at heart, satin sheen finishes can be flattering for all ages.”
The third step to your look is eyeliner. With hooded eyes, this can be problematic - it can be hard to create a straight line, or the line smudges. Lynne recommends ditching any pencil or cream eyeliner in favour of a mineral powder eyeshadow, applied wet. This will be more moisture-resistant and long-lasting, as well as kind to sensitive eyes. She explains the process:
“Take a drop of fresh water and mix it into your eyeshadow to form a paste. Apply the paste with a fine Eyeliner Brush, aiming in between the eyelashes.”
Lynne suggests applying eyeliner along the full length of the top lashline, but only to the outer third of the lower lashline. She says: “partly accenting the lower lashline can make small eyes look bigger.”
If hooded eyes are very accentuated, it can be impossible to apply along the top lash line. In those cases, Lynne advises “accenting the lower lashline on its own is equally successful for creating flattering definition.”
Some artists also recommend applying a pencil inside the lower or upper waterline: a technique known as “tightlining”. But this is frowned on by eye doctors. Dr Elizabeth Hawkes says we should “avoid applying eyeliner or shadow inside the waterline as this can block the oil producing meibomian glands at the base of the eyelashes.” It can cause excessive watering or discomfort and can also make eyes look smaller.
The finishing flourish to your look is enhancing and lengthening your eyelashes to open up the eye.
Cosmetics à la Carte Intense Volume Mascara creates volume and length quickly and easily. If your mascara persistently smudges, you can also explore individual false lashes or semi-permanent lash extensions.
What shades do you recommend for each step?
Flattering shades for different steps of the look in the Cosmetics à la Carte mineral powder Eye Define eyeshadow range are shown below, organised by eye colour. Whether online or at our Chelsea boutique, you can build your own bespoke palette with only those shades you need.
Can hooded eyes be "fixed"?
If you are not happy with the fact your eyes are hooded, there is a medical intervention that can help.
Blepharoplasty is the gold standard surgical procedure to correct hooded eyes by remodelling the eyelid structure. An expert in this particular oculoplastic procedure, Dr Elizabeth Hawkes explains that blepharoplasty “involves complex combinations of skin removal, muscle tightening, and fat repositioning or removal. Every eyelid is unique, meaning the surgical plan and procedure is a highly bespoke process.”
When performed for aesthetic reasons, blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift, can make your eyes appear younger and more alert.
Dr Elizabeth Hawkes stresses that blepharoplasty – one of her most requested treatments - isn’t facelift surgery: “you won’t come out looking like an entirely different version of yourself - but you will look a lot brighter, refreshed and less tired.” Read more about blepharoplasty and what it involves on Dr Elizabeth Hawkes’ website here.